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Shelter for LGBTQ+ youth opens in Vista

 March 28, 2024 at 5:00 AM PDT

Good Morning, I’m Debbie Cruz….it’s Thursday, March 28th. >>>>

A new shelter for L-G-B-T-Q-Plus youth experiencing homelessness is now open in Vista.More on that next. But first... let’s do the headlines….######

It’s a big day for sports in San Diego.

Both the S-D-S-U men’s basketball team and the Padres have games today.

The Padres will play their home-opener in front of a sold out crowd.

They’ll be facing the San Francisco Giants and the first pitch is a little after 1 P-M.

The S-D-S-U Men’s basketball team is in Boston for the March Madness tournament.

They’ll be taking on the U-Conn Huskies at 4-39 this evening.

You can catch that game on T-B-S.

This is the first time in school history that the Aztecs have made it to the Sweet Sixteen two years in a row.


The city of San Diego is hosting another community workshop, as part of the Ocean Beach pier renewal project.

The pier has been closed since last fall.

Elif Cetin with the City of San Diego says they’ll reveal the final design concept at the workshop.

“We are going to have an interactive workshop to work on some of the details. We would like to see what kind of lighting fixtures the community would like to see. We have some shading opportunities we would like to get input on that.”  

The event is open to the entire community next Saturday from 2 to 5 p-m at the Liberty Station conference center.


Today’s weather is expected to be partly cloudy and windy with the strongest gusts in the mountains, deserts and coastal areas.

It’ll be the warmest in the deserts today, with temperatures in the low 80s, and in the mountains, temps will be in the mid 50s.

In the inland and coastal areas, it’ll be in the 60s.

Looking toward the weekend, rain is expected tomorrow (Friday) night, Saturday and Sunday.

But the National Weather Service says the rain will lighten on Monday.


From KPBS, you’re listening to San Diego News Now.Stay with me for more of the local news you need.


A new shelter to address homelessness among L-G-B-T-Q-Plus youth is now open in Vista.

North County reporter Alexander Nguyen says it’s the only one of its kind in North County.

“2 … 3 snip cheers” With a quick snip of the ribbon … Unicorn Villages in Vista is officially open. It was the culmination of months of efforts between the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, Casas de Luz and the Palomar Unitarian Church. “We’re having young adults coming literally with a backpack and we didn’t know what to do.” Max Disposti with the North County L-G-B-T-Q Resource Center says it addresses a critical need. “Sometimes youth were forced to stay in places where they were not welcome just because they didn't have any housing, any safety net to live their own home.” According to the San Diego Housing Commission … 40 percent of youth experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ-plus. Data shows one of the most common reasons LGBTQ-plus youths end up on the streets is family rejection. Alexander Nguyen KPBS


A warning to our listeners, this next story includes a discussion of suicide.

According to C-D-C data, a rising number of high school students have seriously considered suicide.

This week, our newsroom is looking at mental health in schools.

Reporter Katie Hyson says students facing higher risk like L-G-B-T-Q-plus youth also face higher barriers to help.

More than 1 in 5 high school students have seriously considered suicide. For LGBTQ+ students, that number rises to almost half. Some of the statistics are really staggering, and frankly, we have a crisis. That’s Walter Philips, CEO of San Diego Youth Services. The nonprofit’s contract providing student mental health services was terminated by the Grossmont Union school board after community members objected that they also provide services for the county’s LGBTQ+ youth. It was part of a string of actions affecting LGBTQ+ students, like banning safe space posters and pride flags, that several school districts surrounding San Diego took this year. Philips says those actions have big consequences. The more we put up barriers for these students to feel like they're in a safe place, then that increases their mental health issues. Moxxie Childs, now a high school junior in Temecula, says he’s experienced that firsthand. During 2021, which was height of the pandemic, I was in and out of mental hospitals quite a bit . . . about three times for trying to kill myself, I was not happy at all. I was isolated from my friend group when I went to Catholic school because I came out as gay and trans. And there's a lot of isolation that goes on for a lot of queer kids in Temecula and the surrounding areas. A Temecula Valley Unified School District spokesperson said they had no comment on the details of this story. Their school board voted in August to notify parents if their child shows signs of being transgender – like asking to use a different name, pronouns or bathroom at school. The next morning in school, it was somber. There were a few people crying, having panic attacks because their parents couldn't find out.  Moxxie says it’s less of an issue for him. Most people in the admin don't even know my legal name because it's not in any of the documents at all, which I really appreciate. Some students got a hold of it at one point, and that wasn't fun. But it was a big problem for a lot of his friends, he says, who were outed to unsupportive parents. There are several students who've been put in danger with that. We have a few students who are being kicked out of their house because of that. He says it pushed this part of their identity underground. Nobody really comes out to the school anymore. Um, there are specific teachers who will know and just not say anything. Say it's a nickname, that sort of thing. A month later, the district banned all flags except the state and U.S. flags, unless they have superintendent approval. However, the only teachers that received warnings for that were teachers who had pride flags up or had the you are safe here or hate has no place here.  In response, Moxxie handed out pride flags on sticks. People were taking them to try to rip them up, which that part was a little bit funny because they were actually kind of plasticky instead of fabric, and they couldn't rip them, which was funny because they would just struggle for a bit and break the stick that they were on. [laughter] LGBTQ+ students are harassed for their identity at higher rates than straight students, CDC data show. And that number is rising in recent years. But the school districts’ actions, Moxxie says, make LGBTQ+ students afraid to use the school’s mental health services. It's hard to be open, and it took a while for me to accept myself. It takes a while for anyone to accept themselves. But especially in a setting like how Temecula is right now, where that sort of thing is being shunned and ostracized and punished, it gets a lot harder. So instead, he says, they create their own support system. We just kind of rely on each other instead, and that works a lot better. All of the kids he knows who were kicked out are now in homes. Some back with their parents, others with new guardians. Katie Hyson, KPBS News

TAGOUT: If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, you can call the suicide and crisis lifeline at 9-8-8.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at a school taking a different approach to addressing mental health…by baking it into the curriculum.


Sophomore students at Hoover High school are learning to handle their anxiety and stress.

Education reporter M.G. Perez tells us how..


10th-grade students at Hoover High School have spent the past four months researching therapies to help them deal with stress. Their project-based learning started in science and English classes…looking at the physiology and social causes of childhood anxiety, depression, and isolation. Valerie Woodfill is one of the veteran teachers who guided their work. “I think we all need reminders of techniques we can engage in to help out mental health…everything from meditation, aroma therapy, breathing techniques.” The student project culminated in Wednesday’s all-day self-care fair on campus…with 5-hundred Hoover students from freshmen to seniors experiencing their best mental health therapy options. MG Perez KPBS News.


Coming up, a San Diego institution is celebrating a big birthday. We’ll have that story just after the break.


There’s a new centenarian in San Diego.

But this 100-year old is not a person — it’s a place.

Downtown’s Balboa Theatre opened 100-years ago, today.

Reporter John Carroll has a look at its history and the celebrations that start tonight.

There’s a new centenarian in San Diego. But this 100-year old is not a person. It’s a place. Downtown’s Balboa Theatre opened 100 years ago today. KPBS reporter John Carroll has a look at its history and the big celebrations planned starting tonight.

When the Balboa Theatre opened on the southwest corner of 4th and E streets, it was, as the San Diego History Center describes it, a well-designed combination stage and screen house from the era of palatial theaters.  15-hundred seats… a stage the size of most Broadway stages, and something quite unique… Live waterfalls on either side of the proscenium arch set in grottos with a distinctly western landscape. “I feel like the Balboa is San Diego’s jewel.” Abigail Buell is with San Diego Theaters.  The nonprofit runs both the Balboa and downtown’s Civic Theatre. “It is the epicenter of all kinds of arts, performing arts in San Diego.” The epicenter… no longer a spring chicken… needs plenty of attention… theatrical TLC. “We are constantly doing upkeep and little things have changed.  But in preparation for its 100 years, we are working on some new carpet, which we’ll see all over the building, that was custom made and designed by us.” Carpet bearing capital “Bs” surrounded by a rope design… a nod to San Diego’s maritime heritage… the exterior is getting a fresh look.  A new tri-tone paint scheme and more… “Pole banners, awnings, things to make it feel a little bit more refreshed.  Digital screens, things that will allow us to promote what’s going on inside the theatre to the public and to everyone around and so really excited about all of that.” That excitement reaches a fever pitch beginning tonight.  A gala celebration kicks off a weekend of special events.  Playwright, pianist and actor Hershey Felder will present a tribute to an era of music known collectively as the Great American Songbook. Then tomorrow night at 7:00, a screening of the 1929 silent movie “The Flying Fleet” with accompaniment on the Balboa’s amazing organ… more on that in a moment. Saturday morning, the focus is on the little ones… a children’s costume parade where all children are encouraged to come in their best roaring 20’s attire… followed by Toons and Tunes… classic cartoons with the organ providing the musical background. Everything winds up Saturday evening with San Diego Spotlight.  That will feature several local performing arts  groups. Making the Balboa more accessible to San Diego’s many arts organizations is a priority, so from tonight through Saturday, all of the money from ticket sales will go to the Balboa Theatre Grant Fund. “Which offers to subsidize partially or fully local arts nonprofits here in San Diego to ensure that they can use our space so that they can really focus on their art and being onstage and we can do the background work, operations and ensuring that labor costs are covered, things like that.” A big part of this weekend’s festivities is what you’re hearing now.  That is the sound of one of the finest theater pipe organs left in the United States.  The Wonder Morton pipe organ made its way to the Balboa in 2009.  It will be played on Friday and Saturday by visiting theater organist Ken Double. “This is a fabulous pipe organ.  The Morton Company understood this would be their signature instrument.” The organ is a marvel of early 20th century engineering.  One of the people who plays it, helps to maintain it and knows it best is Russ Peck. “This complement of pipe work is, in my mind, one of the greatest designs, then and now.” We talk to Peck up in what’s called the foundation chamber.  High above the stage, it’s where the hundreds of pipes and other instruments live.  Whether he’s up here fixing this or adjusting that, Peck is in his happy place. Back downstairs with Ken Double at the console… and he’s treating us to a preview of the special theme music he wrote to accompany The Flying Fleet. As the Balboa Theatre becomes a centenarian, it is definitely time to celebrate its big birthday.  But it’s also a time to reflect on how incredibly fortunate, how lucky we all are that this gem of San Diego is still here, 100 years later.  John Carrol, KPBS News.


That’s it for the podcast today. As always you can find more San Diego news online at KPBS dot org. Join us again tomorrow for the day’s top stories. I’m Debbie Cruz. Thanks for listening and have a great Thursday.

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A new shelter for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing homelessness is now open in Vista. In other news, CDC data shows a rising number of high school students have seriously considered suicide. Part 2 in our school mental health series, looks at barriers for students seeking help. Plus, the Balboa Theater is celebrating its 100th birthday.